Better, cheaper, longer—or living large, what’s it going to be? The tagline for the well-known travel blogger, Nomadic Matt is Travel Better. Cheaper. Longer. That works great for many people and is my preferred method, especially when by myself or with like-minded friends, traveling fast and light, and out to discover.
However, as we mature (and because my wife has a lower tolerance towards bedbugs than I), we do find ourselves in nicer digs, sometimes.
Whether you come to Playa del Carmen for the beautiful white sand beaches, shopping on the glitzy Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), nightclubbing, or just to relax and wait out the cold winters back home, there is a full spectrum of lodging options available for you to choose from.
Be it seriously low-end youth hostels, the brand new and gorgeous Grand Hyatt, a relaxing condo complex, or a beachside vacation home, there’s something for everyone.
I prefer, or did not that many years ago, the ten-dollar hostel. You meet people, young people full of energy, perspective, and life. I love to sit out on the deck or in the courtyard of a hostel and listen to their views about world travel and politics, about places to see and things to do. Too, there are the savvy, young-at-heart travelers that share life lessons (see an old post, The Hostel Method).
To that end, in Playa, there is the Xaman Eco-Hostel at $11US per night plus taxes, per person. The Xaman is located on 10th Avenue very close to the central park, Parque Fundadores, the ADO bus terminal, the Cozumel ferry building, the beginning of 5th Avenue, and nightclubs.
Well north up the beach and passed several other fine resort hotels and condos is the new Grand Hyatt that opened June 2015. Beginning at $300, to well over $1,000, per night, NOT including 16 % Tax, 3 % City tax, and $25.00 service charge per night. This place is grand indeed. Opulence and beautiful people; swimming pool after swimming pool; lounge chairs and quick service; views and the azure blue Caribbean Sea, all for your senses delight.
Condos like the new A-Nah Suites run less than $100 per night, plus taxes, high season, and there are many to choose from. Note: this price does not include electricity costs, which range from approximately $25 per week on up; use your air conditioning wisely.
Then there are beachfront villas near Playacar, at $800 to $1,000 per night (3 bedrooms). Playacar is an upscale neighborhood south of the Cozumel ferry building. Quite high priced, however, the beach is right there, you have a pool of your own and at night it is super quiet, well away from the zany happenings in the nightclub area of Centro Playa. Share one of these villas with your friends and split the bill.
Demand is high in winter and many more condos and hotels are being built to fill that demand. Back in 2009, demand was low because of the economic downturn, but life is very different in Playa, now. During our time in Playa, I have jogged through most areas of the city and there are building and expansion projects everywhere. According to Ventana Magazine, “Playa del Carmen is the fastest growing city in Latin America. And the Riviera Maya is the fastest growing tourist destination anywhere in the world!”
We have traveled a bit of the world and used all of these options, to meet one goal or another. There is no bad option, within one’s budget. Get out there and live large as you can or follow Nomadic Matt’s advice: Travel better, cheaper, longer.